Disclaimer: I don't own anything Ruroken, so don't blame me if you aren't a fan... hmmm... for that matter, if you aren't a fan, what are you doing reading this in the first place...? Oh, and the idea for the "Our Characters" tributes is the credit of demented chris as seen on gypsy-chan's website. Totally check it out! Wicked cool!

Our Battousais

Silent. Dark. Deadly. This was how he first appeared to us. We could see the demon unleashed by his deadly blade. Could understand the fear the came with his name. Because we only saw what he wanted us to see. He wore masks layered upon masks, and it was impossible for us to know that he was already deeply scarred before a blade ever slashed across his cheek.

The truth came to us in blinding flashes. Startling revelations of his past. His childhood. His training. As we were allowed slowly but surely to take part in his memories. We were silent spectators, and with this role came the understanding that unlike the unredeemable demon, this boy was merely one of the fallen… not born in hell, but cruelly thrust there.

"The road to hell is paved in good intentions." As we watched him, that saying suddenly had so much more depth.

We watched him kill off a small part of himself with every assassination until unexpectedly, Our Tomoes appeared in the dark of one night. His mask cracked as he protected her. Continued to crack as he loved her.

Shattered when she died. And the demon… the fallen angel… was human once again.

After that, Our Battousais became Our Kenshins… whole again. Complete. Except for those rare moments when his past caught up with him. When the floodgate was opened, usually by force, and the part of him that even he feared was released. We watched his fight with Jin-ee, nearly drawing the killer out… but not quite. We held our breath as Our Saitos brought back the predatory gleam of Our Battousais in Our Kenshins' eyes.

But each time, he returned both weaker and stronger. And we understood, probably before Our Kenshins did, that by visiting Our Hikos, he was not burying the hitokiri as he'd thought, but merely merging two parts of his broken soul.

Our elusive Battousais fascinated us, and because of this, we have written endlessly about him. Quarrelling over whether Our Battousais are merely another personality for Our confused Kenshins. Constantly making Our Kenshin's fall ill to see if perhaps a strong enough fever would bring Our Battousais out for Our Kenshins' new friends to deal with. We've sent him through time, made him deal with ghosts both of the past and the present. We've set him wandering to see what his transition into Our Kenshins could have been like. We've even made him commit seppuku… turned him into a ghost, himself…

But through all of this, Our Battousais have survived. Our Battousais are strong, and though cold and distant, Our Battousais have always cared. We have shown his soft side as he cares for Our Tomoes in both life and death, because a strong truth that we quickly learned about Our Battousais is that he never liked to kill. We pounced on that, delighting in the distressing situations we could put him into. Waiting with bated breath to see how he'd survive…

And sometimes we'd even try humor with this character who never laughed… rarely smiled. We'd make him visit Our Hikos and laugh as he was quickly cut back down to size. And if we were feeling especially mischievous, we would set Our Battousais up with our own female characters, just to watch him squirm… even for a little while.

But no matter what situation we placed Our Battousais in, he always had his cross to bear. His pain and suffering. His angst. His smile was a rare jewel.

And we love him for it…

Author's Note: Thanks so much for reading. Please review!